KUALA LUMPUR, A Senator today proposed an increase in the number of senators in the Dewan Negara in line with parliamentary reforms to strengthen the legislative body.

Senator Susan Chemerai Anding said, considering the number of Members of Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat at 222, there is a need to increase the number of Senators, which currently stands at 70, to ensure the effectiveness of the check and balance role.

"In this regard, does the government have plans to increase the number from 70 as compared to the 222 members in the House of Representatives... I believe this number should be increased as an effort to strengthen the Parliament institution.

"Out of 70 Senators, data as of November this year recorded only 10 female senators or 16 per cent of the total members, so I think this matter needs consideration," she said.

She said this when debating the Supply Bill 2024 in the Upper House .

In July, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the government could increase the quota of senators elected from each state from two to three if necessary.

Wan Junaidi said, under Article 45 (1) (a), the Federal Constitution clearly provides for two representatives to be elected from each state to the Dewan Negara, but that number could be increased.

Susan also wanted to know the latest status of plans for parliamentary reforms, such as the enactment of the Parliament Services Act to achieve the separation of powers between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches.

Meanwhile, Senator Datuk Mohd Hatta Ramli said the local agriculture industry in the north and eastern coasts of the country and bordering neighbouring countries should be given a boost through integrated efforts involving stakeholders for food security.

"Therefore, the government should leverage on good bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, especially Thailand, which has a progressive agriculture industry," he said.

The Dewan sits again tomorrow.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency